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EuroLeague Women: Schio clinches quarter-finals berth behind Dorka Juhász, Arella Guirantes

After Schio earns a postseason berth, Valencia and Zaragoza will fight for the last remaining quarter-final spot from Group A. In Group B, four teams will battle for the final two places in the playoffs.

After falling to Schio on Wednesday, Leonie Fiebich and Zaragoza look with hope to the final gameday of the group stage.
Photo by ALTAN GOCHER/Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images

What happened in the second-to-last week of EuroLeague Women group play? In Group A, three of the four games were basically blowouts. Fortunately, the Group B action made up for the lack of excitement, with three close and fun contests.

Group A

If you would have asked anyone with some EuroLeague Women knowledge to recommend one game to watch on Wednesday, they probably would have picked Schio versus Zaragoza. Both teams had eight wins and the winner would clinch the third spot in the quarter-finals, leaving one available postseason spot for the loser or Valencia, if they would beat DVTK (spoiler: they did). On paper, the teams were evenly matched and hopes were that the game was going to be exciting (spoiler: it wasn’t). Schio won the first quarter 28-16 and their lead was never in peril, cruising to the 73-59 win. The Lynx’s Dorka Juhász played her best game in the campaign so far, finishing with 13 points and six boards. Arella Guirantes had 15 points and seven rebounds, while Robyn Parks scored 11 points.

Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding 82, ACS Sepsi-SIC 49

LDLC ASVEL Féminin 85, Polski Cukier AZS UMCS Lublin 76

Valencia Basket Club 82, DVTK HUN-Therm 52

Beretta Famila Schio 73, Casademont Zaragoza 59

Group B

In a duel of two sharp shooters, Marina Mabrey beat Bridget Carleton, 23 points to 19 points. Both were scoring with incredible accuracy, with Mabrey going 4-for-5 from 3 and Carleton going a respectable 3-for-7 from long distance. The difference between both teams was motivation: Győr weren’t playing for anything but honor, while Mersin was battling for a spot in the quarter-finals. Up until the first part of the second half, the teams were pretty much even, but once Mersin got up 50-47 after a 3 from Turkish small forward Sinem Atas, they did not let go of the lead. Atas played her best game of the season, totaling 17 points. Four players from Mersin scored in double-digits and the Turks outrebounded the Hungarians 36-27, leading them to the 76-71 win. Still, the game was close, fun to watch and it’s a shame that we will see the high-scoring Győr only once more in this year’s competition.

In the most important match of the gameday, Polkowice hosted Avenida. It was a win-or-go-home situation. Well, technically. Avenida had to win, while Polkowice could afford a loss only if Villeneuve-d’Ascq LM lost to Basket Landes. The Polkowice game started first and it was incredibly tight, with the Poles leading 39-38 after the first half. In the third quarter, the game started slipping from them, but it was still pretty close. With a bit over a minute to go, Polkowice was up by one point after a block by Stephanie Mavunga and a layup by Brittney Sykes. Then, Avenida’s Laura Gil drew a foul, scored, and committed a foul on the other end. Gil was incredible, as she had gameday highs in points (25) and rebounds (11). With 30 seconds to go, the play was reviewed and once the review was rejected, Polkowice got the ball. After inbounding it, the tension and nervousness were palpable, as the Polish players were looking for a way to get to the basket. Eventually, Zala Friškolvec tried an off-balance shot, but missed. Klaudia Gertchen got the rebound for Polkowice, immediately tried to shoot and when that attempt failed, the ball was caught by Avenida’s Bernadett Határ, getting her fifth rebound of the game. Avenida sank both free throws, Polkowice’s inbound pass went out of bounds and, with three seconds left, the game essentially was over; Avenida would escape with the 78-73 victory.

Meanwhile in Montmélian, there was still one quarter of basketball left and the home team, Villeneuve-d’Ascq, entered the final 10 minutes with a 62-53 lead. Basket Landes was already out of the competition before the game began, while their compatriots really needed the win. However, Landes sits atop the French league for a reason. With three minutes left, Villeneuve-d’Ascq got a lucky break when the referees called a foul on Marie Pardon. There seemed to be no contact, yet the play still stood after the review and the visitors not only got two free throws, but also the ball. They converted only one, then missed the second, as well as a close shot on the ensuing possession. Within one minute remaining, the score got even closer, 72-69. The fans were loud, the local band was playing their instruments and the packed arena exploded after a perfectly executed two-step shot by German center Luisa Geiselsöder. The 21st pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft finished the game with nine points and seven rebounds. The ending might as well be called the “Alexis Peterson Show,” as she had four points, two assists and a steal in the final two minutes. In the end, Basket Landes won 80-71 and Polkowice still have a chance of progressing to the quarter-finals.

Çukurova Basketbol Mersin 76, Serco UNI Győr 71

ZVVZ USK Praha 69, Virtus Segafredo Bologna 61

Perfumerias Avenida 78, KGHM BC Polkowice 73

Basket Landes 80, Villeneuve d’Ascq LM 71